Course: Starting an Archive (online)

06:30pm, Mon 16 Sep 2024 - 08:00pm, Mon 21 Oct 2024

A six-week, online course on archives and archiving, from 18.30-20.00 BST

Colour photograph of a pencil mock up of an exhibition space with photographs collaged on top

Course: Starting an Archive (online)


A six-week, online course on archives and archiving, from 18.30-20.00 BST

Thinking about starting your own archive?


Learn how archiving and archives have changed since the advent of the digital age and key areas to consider when starting your own archive.

Course Format

Over six weeks, this practical course explores what it means to archive collections today – working with physical and/or digital material. Course leader Kathryn Tollervey starts by exploring the need for an archive and who it is for. Then we look at guidelines on cataloguing and metadata, as well as the processes of digitisation and preservation for both digital and physical material. We discuss what digital solutions are best for different types of collections. Throughout the course we focus on access and legacy of the archive.

Taking place weekly on Zoom, sessions include a blend of lectures, group discussions and presentations. Participants are provided with lecture slides and a list of resources for further study.

Who is this for?

Open to all, especially photographers who are interested in starting the process of archiving their material, whether of personal value or historical public interest.


Week One | Introduction on Mon 16 Sep

An overview of the course and an exploration of the history and changing forms of archives. Guest speaker: David A. Bailey

Week Two | Legacy on Mon 23 Sep

Why is there a need for an archive and who it is for? Any copyright implications and future possible contexts in how collections could be used.

Week Three | Access on Mon 30 Sep

How to make archives available to different audiences and how to promote your archive. Introducing the use of open access and community involvement to increase reach and build stronger stories within archives. Guest speaker: Andrea Holzherr

Weeek Four | Digitisation and Born Digital on Mon 7 Oct

Introducing the debate on whether to digitise collections, in full or part. Practical guidelines in finding a suitable affordable platform.

Week Five | Cataloguing and Meta Data on Mon 14 Oct

An introduction and practical guidelines. Guest speaker: Nathalie Herschdorfer

Week Six | Storage and Conclusions on Mon 21 Oct

Introduction to different solutions & considerations for both digital and physical material. Final Q&A session on next steps with your archive. Guest speaker: Luce Lebart


David A. Bailey

David A. Bailey [biog to come]

Nathalie Herschdorfer

Nathalie Herschdorfer is a curator and art historian specializing in the history of photography. She is the Director of the museum Photo Elysée, the photography museum in Lausanne, Switzerland. She is an active voice in contemporary photography and has been invited to organize numerous exhibitions outside Switzerland. She teaches the history of photography at the Lausanne University of Art and Design (ECAL). She is co-curator of Deborah Turbeville: Photocollage. 

Andrea Holzherr

Andrea Holzherr is a cultural director, publicist and curator. She has worked as the Global Cultural Director and Curator for Magnum Photos, Paris since 2003. She is responsible for promoting the Magnum Archive through active exhibition work in collaboration with international museums and cultural institutions. Previous to this, she worked at the Maison Européene de la Photographie in Paris as Assistant Curator to the Director. She is co-curator, with Anne-Marie Beckmann and Karen McQuaid of Ernest Cole: House of Bondage.

Luce Lebart

Luce Lebart [biog to come]

Kathryn Tollervey

Kathryn Tollervey is the Archivist at The Photographers’ Gallery. She has twenty years’ experience working in photographic archives such as Foster + Partners (Norman Foster’s architectural studio) photographic & special collections archive, the Victorian high street photographer Edward Reeves’ Archive and the archives of celebrated American-photographer Lee Miller.


A limited number of partial bursaries covering 50% of full course fees will be awarded on a first come, first served basis. Please apply on or after 12 June.

Applicants who wish to be considered for a partial bursary should submit a statement (max. 500 words) to, outlining how Starting an Archive would contribute to their professional development. Successful applicants will be notified within a week of submission (on or after 12 June). 

We actively encourage applications from groups who are currently under-represented in the cultural sector in the UK. This includes people who identify as D/deaf, disabled* and neurodivergent; those with caring responsibilities; candidates from Black, Asian and ethnically diverse backgrounds; and arts and culture professionals, prioritising independent artists and freelancers.

*The Equality Act 2010 defines a disabled person as someone who has a physical or mental impairment, and the impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. Sharing that you are disabled will not be used in any way in judging the quality of your application.


Details on how to access this event will be confirmed upon registration. Please check your junk/spam folder if you haven't received an email from TPG staff confirming your place.

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